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Loss helped Pine View

Losing to Hurricane earlier this season continues to be the best thing that happened to Pine View, for two reasons.

First, it refocused Pine View for the remainder of the season.

"That was probably the biggest game of the season for us," said Pine View's Jesse Ence. "It brought reality to this team that we're not invincible, and we can't take anybody lightly. We have to come after every game and play like it's our last."

Secondly, and perhaps most important, the loss to Hurricane prevented the Panthers from winning the Region 9 title.

Why is that so important?

It means Pine View avoided Logan.

"I knew it was a great seeding, that second seeding was a great seed," said Pine View coach Ray Hosner.

As a result, Pine View and Logan were positioned on the opposite side of the 3A playoff bracket, which now sets up a showdown in next week's state championship.

GAME WITHIN A GAME: When Logan and Pine View meet in next week's championship game, a state championship isn't the only thing on the line.

Logan quarterback Riley Nelson and Pine View quarterback James Lark will both be trying to etch their names in the state record book. After this weekend's semifinal games, Lark now has 78 career touchdown passes, while Nelson has 76. Cottonwood's Alex Cate was right in the mix entering the weekend, but his team lost its semifinal game, and he finishes his career with 78 TD strikes.

Lark may have had more on Friday, but Pine View was ahead 55-7 after the third quarter, and he didn't play in the fourth quarter.

"Poor guy. We didn't let him get as many as he could've," joked Pine View's Hosner.

NEW CHAMPS: For the first time since 1993, there will not be a repeat champion in any of the state's five classifications.

Davis, Timpview, Bear River, Juan Diego and Monticello — all champions in 2004 — have all been eliminated from playoff competition.

RECORD CHASERS: With his eight extra points Friday, Pine View kicker Riley Stephenson improved his season total to 73, surpassing Box Elder's Brett Kearl for the single-season extra point record.

He's not alone in his quest, however.

Logan kicker Courtney Cano booted six extra points in Thursday's semifinal win, increasing his season total to 73.

Stephenson now has 191 career extra points, while Cano has 111.

EARLY SUCCESS: Alta coach Les Hamilton has an impressive track record when it comes to his first year at a new school.

Two years ago in his first year at Grantsville, he led the Cowboys to the 3A championship game before losing to Bear River. In his debut at Alta this year, he guided the Hawks to the 5A semifinals, where they narrowly lost to rival Brighton.

NO MORE BIG HEADS: Brighton running back Mike Hague admitted that his team overlooked Alta in their earlier meeting this year.

"It's such a rivalry, I don't know how you can overlook a team in such a rivalry," said Hague. "Occasionally it will happen, and we thought we were hot stuff going into that game with them back then."

Brighton didn't lose focus in the rematch, however.


E-mail: jedward@desnews.com